Tag: Compassion

Ballueder Thinks (2) – I believe in you

To believe in someone, you have to believe in yourself. That’s my opinion anyway. Did you know, according to Coach George Ravelin who was interviewed on Tim Ferris’ podcast the other day, not many parents tell their children that they believe in them.

The coach, now 82, also talks about ‘staying alive’ was his goal for most of his life, living in America as a black man. Every time he got stopped by the police, he feared for his life. A sad, yet fascinating podcast. It takes me back to my life in Kansas. A year as an exchange student, being pressurised into (soft) drugs, guns, drinking, sex and witnessing racial discrimination. It might sound horrible now, but at the time, I thought that’s what America was like. This is over 25 years ago, and I had a teacher back then, I might add a black teacher, who told me that he believed in me, and that one day I will become someone great. Whilst I still wonder when this might be, I wonder if I am already there. Who knows what ‘great’ really means?
You were a great mentor, Dr. Stone!

I have witnessed racism against me at the time, and against black people. I have witnessed a lot in my life, that I have forgotten, or pushed aside. But I believe in myself. That’s the main thing. And, I am very keen on making sure my kids believe in themselves, and their lives moving forward. When my son had his birthday recently, I wrote exactly that in his card. Hopefully, he will read it over again. And he starts believing in himself.

Whilst this is all 25 years ago, it sometimes comes back to the top of my mind. Just recently I remembered some scenes from that time, and it feels wrong now. No one would blame me, being 15 at the time, to not stand up for things I felt were wrong then, but felt I couldn’t speak out about back then. This is all a very long time ago, but you sometimes wonder what I have learned from all that. A whole lot I’d say, as I am someone who processes things and likes to reflect on things. And, I am willing to learn, to strive and make things better.

What have you done 25 years ago when you look back? It might sound as if I was a total idiot. Actually, I don’t think I was, given the environment I was in. But comparing it to the environment I came from, maybe I was 😉 It’s all good, wounds heal, yet it also gave me a deep inside into the heartland of America, the Mid-West. I learned a whole lot, made some really good friends too, and to this day would like to visit again. And what we Europeans often forget is the size of America. Kansas, where I was, is only about 20,000 km2 smaller than the UK as a whole. Or, to put it into perspective, Kansas is the size of the UK minus Wales. That’s a big country for one member state of a bigger United States, and it would have its own dynamics.

Enough about that, as with everything in life, we live and learn. I recently decided to launch a business with someone else. This is very exciting. And of course I will reveal more as we go along. We are still pretty much in stealth mode. We spoke the other day and had a good chat. Business for us is about TRUST. Trust for me comes back to belief. I believe in him, and he believes in me. We believe in what we do and how we will trust each other. That’s more powerful than a contract I suppose.

There is something else I wanted to write about. Teaching. Now, my dad and uncle both were teachers. Both in Germany, both successful in moving up the teachers’ ranks, and both have had a good life, brining up a family, owning a house etc. It is pretty much a good middle class family job. When I grew up, and most children do, I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to do what my dad did. Thinking back, I am glad I didn’t become a teacher. Despite Covid19, and teachers going through a tough time, they also have a secure pension and a secure income. However, the income of a teacher will most likely always be lower than the income of someone in the open economy, however that’s not why you become a teacher. It’s because of passion.

I know that now, but back when I finished high school, it was all about the money for me rather than the passion. I wanted to become a CEO, a manager, and that was it. And, to a certain extend, I still love working with people, grown ups, and manage and coach/consult them. Now, you could argue, I am an adult teacher. Not quite, but kind of fulfilled two areas, e.g. being an expert in what I do, and passing that knowledge on to others. I couldn’t be a teacher, that’s for sure. In the UK, teachers are worse off financially than in Germany too, but that is another topic in itself. And me dealing with more than two children at a time isn’t my idea of fun either.

The point I am leading to, is that in life you should follow your passion. Which, to a certain extend, I did. I did it without the right reasoning. In NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), we differentiate between two motivational directions, e.g. moving towards something and moving away from something. In my case, I moved away from teaching for the reason of earning potential and moved towards consulting for the reason of earning more money and having a ‘career’. Coming to a point in my life where I am launching my own business, working with my own clients, I essentially realise I got the best of both worlds. I am teaching, training and helping people to achieve their goals. I guess I arrived at my destination, didn’t I?

Let’s stick with that thought for a moment. What if, based on what was mentioned above, I am already great and where I should be in life, then the next few years will be key to proving that what I am doing is successful. As you know, based on my podcast, success is defined by your own individual perception of success. So it could be money, or building something, or proving something.

For me, the next few years are about building a business that I can take with me, no matter where in the world I live, and which I can operate remotely too. This way I want to be Covid19 safe, and add value to anyone globally. I want to help people achieve their dreams and tell more people that I believe in them, and that they can achieve their dream. Things will always fall into place, no matter what.

And whilst I fear Covid19’s impact on the economy as much as the upcoming recession (or the recession that’s here already), and Brexit, and whatever else might come, e.g. a 2nd wave of Covid19 or another virus or global warming – for me it comes back to believing that anything is possible. I believe, despite fear and anxiety of the future, that we as humans will survive. We will find a way off this planet before we destroy it, or we find a way of not destroying it; and I find a way of making my business grow during a downturn. And, in the end, I want to look back in years to come and be proud of what I have achieved.

But I don’t want to be alone on the journey. I want to have enough time for my family, help them to believe in themselves. I want my friends, mates, coaching clients and consultant clients to believe in me, and them to believe in themselves. I want to help and give people confidence in what they do, and support them on the way. If I can achieve that, and make the world a better place in my circle of influence, I achieve success.

Now that’s something to live for.

And every time I think about that, there are people that come to my mind, people I met in Kansas, people I met in London and elsewhere on my way, that do not get it. People that tried to f* you over, that couldn’t be trusted, that treated you like sh*, and didn’t care. People I sometimes think about with compassion, sometimes with anger to be honest, how they could treat me, and a lot of other people, in a certain way. I don’t wish them bad or anything. I am not an evil person, just the opposite, I hope they find peace in what they do. And more often than not they were obsessed by either a wrong ideology or greed. Latter, mainly in the business sense.

My whole life I have and will always try to treat people with the utmost respect. Without prejudice. I hope that Covid19 will help people to see the human aspect more. With all the video calls, we look into living rooms, meet business’ contacts children and dogs. We are getting closer to each other, trying to help each other. That can only be a good thing.

I am a strong believer in Karma. That anything bad you do in life is coming back to you eventually. I also believe that anything good you do in life is coming back to you. The circle of energy, proven in my mechanics class back at university, the forces in any system need to be equalised for the system to be stable. Simple math really.

We are who we are. I am who I am, and you are like you are. Konrad Lorenz, who I read as a teenager, wrote a book called ‘I am here, where are you’ and ‘the so called evil’. I am here, who are you? How can I help you to achieve more? How can I help you to be more successful? How can we avoid evil? I enjoy helping and do that via my coaching. I love helping others to grow and do that via consulting. That’s what I do.

Yes, I could do with more business, but I am confident that once Covid19 goes, and we go back to a more normal business life, that things will continue to flourish. Where would humans be without optimism and belief?

It is key now to not give up. I know a lot of people who are looking for a job, or looking for others to help them. Let me know, I am happy to help you. I don’t have all the answers, but I have all the belief to move forward. Today I am positive.

And when I say today, then this means that some days are dark. Like for anyone at the moment, we have more time to think. Someone I know and lives in the USA, was debating whether to return to the UK. In our times, we have to make decisions where we want to live. How our outer circumstances define our living standards. Happiness, which is the topic of a podcast in a couple of weeks, is key. We, as humans, will always seek happiness. We think that by going somewhere else we are happier, and yet we might find out it’s not the case.

As many in these difficult times, we think a lot. One day this, the other day that. Stay or go. Whatever you are thinking about, you will notice that it changes all the time. And the reason is simple, we cannot plan at the moment. We think that by changing things we will be in a better place. That might or might not be the case, and our thoughts are a bit clouded.

The best thing is to sit down, and take stock. Write down what you enjoy/don’t enjoy, and what is important to you. Look into the future, taking into consideration that you cannot determine the future, and that it is likely to change too. Change is constant. Nothing is set in stone. You can only live in the now.

Then evaluate, talk things through with a person you trust, and wait until Covid19 has passed. Make a decision then, with a clear mind, a mind that can start planning a bit more. Don’t rush into anything that you might regret or didn’t think through, having less information and parameters due to the situation we are in. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make decisions.

At the end of the day we always need to move forward, whatever that means in your situation, and however big or small that step might be.

In the end, you have to believe in yourself and make sure you believe in others.

I believe in you!

Sunday Column (272)

I thought I write about something called commute. I spend about 3 hours each day in commute to and from work. An hour on the train and between 20 and 30 minutes on the tube. Most days the train is a few minutes late resulting in me hitting tube rush hour, delaying things.

Those days I think about using a Boris bike or a foldable bike. Yet I cannot be bothered with that hassle to be honest. Then I would probably get used to it as you do with anything in life.

If I say I enjoy the commute, what I mean is that I like the ”me’ time, 50 minutes of time I can read, listen to music, write this blog etc. each way! And using the Gatwick Express you meet some characters, people coming into London from holidays or business trips. Relaxed, stressed, devastated, joyful. I see them all.

It might sound a bit sentimental, yet I took a step back the other day and watched people on the train, escalator to the tube, behaviour in the tube etc. Asian, black, white, red, black….London is so amazingly diverse. Different accents, attitudes, lots of tourists yet lots of people working and living here. You sometimes forget the attraction of this city. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist – all that doesn’t seem to matter. There is a buzz in London, and looking into the different faces you realise, they all have their own parcel/problems to carry/deal with. The greater unconscious makes us share most burden, Mr. Jung, doesn’t it?

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One thing I couldn’t do the commute without are my Bose noise cancellation headphones. Them on and I don’t hear a word. If someone wants to sit next to me, they have to tap on my shoulder. That happens a lot, I am in my own world, chilling, listening to music, watching movies. The other thing is my iPad. Without it, despite having a laptop, I wouldn’t write my blog, read my books on the Kindle app etc. and have all productivity tools needed in reach.

On Friday my journey home took 3 hours alone. Someone jumped in front of the train. This is very sad, and Twitter was full of people making sure there are no rude comments. No one wants to be rude. Of course it is a tragedy every time someone dies, voluntarily or not. Of course it is a question of society whether there was enough help for this person, if it could have been prevented or not. Yet, it is a horrible thing to do: to jump in front of a train on purpose (I am not talking accidents here which happen too frequently also). The effects are not only on the person deciding to kill themselves but it has an impact on the train driver, the emergency workers, and of course on the commuters.

No question it was a pain to endure bus replacement services, wait, lack of information (which is really badly handled by Southern Trains) and the long commute home. And of course we got home, the person that jumped in front of the train didn’t. It is considered rude to even think that the person messed up a few lives, as mentioned above, and caused a lot of hassle to the commuters.

I do feel compassion for the person. I am sad that someone couldn’t get enough help and didn’t see enough value in living, to actually kill themselves. This is horrible. This is awful. Yet, I also believe that this way of going is one of the worst and selfish ways to go. And I can’t help but speaking out loud, knowing for well I am not the only one thinking the same.

The following TED talk is interesting, talking about suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. And it shows: it is preventable.

It made me think what I can do to help. What can I do to prevent this from happening. It made me – and surely a lot of others – think how we can make a difference in our society, how we can help others, and prevent these things from happening. We should be grateful for what we have. Our prayers going out to the people affected. All of them.

This past week I also went to Munich. A different commute. Still loaded with feelings for my fatherland, I walked the streets of Munich at night. It was nice. Seeing that Munich is doing well, Germany is doing well, becoming more international. Yet, I let go of comparing between my life and a possible life in Germany. I made my choice. I enjoyed my trip despite the red eye flight out of Gatwick.

This closed a great week. I look forward to a few days off. Well deserved I’d say 😉 Time to let go and relax.

Have a great week,
Volker

Buddhist Thought: Cultivate Love

It is time to fill the world with strong and powerful deeds. It is common knowledge that no great captain in the world has ever destroyed all of his enemies and lived with a sense of satisfaction. If one enemy is killed, two more will appear. It is important we cultivate love and compassion to all the sentient beings which is the way to bring peace to all.

Dalai Lama

When I first read this quote I was a bit overwhelmed. I was remembered of the tale of the dragon with the two heads. If the prince cut one off, two grew in their place.

We need to do good in this world.
No captain, as the Dalai Lama explains, ever got rid of all his enemies and was happy and satisfied afterwards. Similar to the dragon, once you got rid of all your enemies, more appeared.

We cannot get rid of our enemies but we can love them. Instead of trying to “eliminate” bad things, try to love them and be compassionate towards them. You then bring peace to everyone, and you won’t have any enemies again – ever.

Have a good day.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhist Thoughts – Partner’s Communication

Living with your partner, or being close with anyone – yes, this could be a work colleague, as we all know that we spend more time at work than at home – causes conflicts. That is normal.

Now today’s quote suggests the following:

It is very important that you do not compare your actions to your partner’s or judge your partner’s behavior as unskillful. Rather, focus on your own actions and take responsibility for them. Recall those times when you looked into your partner’s eyes and saw the pain you caused this person you love to suffer. If you can admit your own faults, if you can see how hurtful your actions were and tap into a sense of concern for your partner’s well-being, then compassion and loving-friendliness will flow.

– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness”

Bhante says that instead of fuelling the conversation and make it hostile, you should stop in your tracks and think. Take responsibility! Focus on your own action!

By doing so you are less or not at all hurtful. You focus on your own mistakes instead. Be understanding, reach out to your partner and sow the love.

In return you will receive love, happiness and less conflicts.

Have a great day.
Volker

Compassion

Compassion – or carpe diem?

I am not sure what to write but Dan Millman who I am going to see tonight in London, posted this video on his blog. I though it is worthwhile sharing.

You find several entries on my blog about Dan Millman and the Peaceful Warrior.

I let you know how the seminar went.

Volker